Did Arkansas deserve a first-team All-SEC selection? Examining the all-conference basketball teams

With four likely NBA players on its roster, Arkansas figured to have a dynamite shot at having a couple of All-SEC picks when the season began in November.

But just like most everything else in 2022-23, that didn’t go the Hogs’ way, either.

The media’s All-SEC teams were announced Monday and while the Razorbacks had one player listed, guard Ricky Council, even he was on the second team. Council was, at least, joined by Anthony Black in gaining SEC honors. The first-year guard made the All-Freshman team.

The reality is that Arkansas didn’t deserve any players on the top squad. Their most talented player, Nick Smith Jr., missed three-quarters of the season with a knee injury. Black’s well-rounded game wasn’t cracking others’. Council’s scoring makes him a bit of a one-trait guy. Devo Davis didn’t have the total numbers (Davis was named to the All-Defensive team).

In the grand scheme of all things Arkansas basketball, it doesn’t matter all that much, of course. But anyone who tells you Arkansas was hosed is probably lying. Or doesn’t know basketball.

Coach of the Year - Dennis Gates, Missouri

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI – JANUARY 18: Head coach Dennis Gates of the Missouri Tigers talks with D’Moi Hodge #5 in the first half of the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Mizzou Arena on January 18, 2023 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Missouri just had its most successful regular season in practically a decade. The Tigers are a lock for the NCAA Tournament and could make noise there, too. Gates was the clear choice.

Player of the Year - Brandon Miller, Alabama

Feb 25, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide forward Brandon Miller (24) brings the bball down court against Arkansas Razorbacks guard Davonte Davis (4) during the second half at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of easy choices, Miller was even more clear than Gates. An all-world talent who looked like an NBA player from his first game, Miller is the reason Alabama is a national title threat.

First team - Colin Castleton, Florida

Feb 8, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Florida Gators forward Colin Castleton (12) looks to the basket against Alabama Crimson Tide center Charles Bediako (14) during the first half at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Florida’s season was hanging by a thread when Castleton was lost for the rest of the year because of a hand injury. With less than a month to play, the Gators couldn’t claw back into it. Castleton is the best interior defender in the conference and was good for pretty much 15 and 8 – or more – every night.

First team - Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky

Mar 4, 2023; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) drives to the basket as Arkansas Razorbacks forward Jalen Graham (11) defends in the first half at Bud Walton Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

While Castleton may have neared a double-double, Tshiebwe was a walking double-double. Averaging 16.4 points and 13.1 rebounds a game, Tshiebwe is a throwback, old-school big man in the college ranks. He likely won’t be much of an NBAer, but he’s mighty now.

First team - Kobe Brown, Missouri

Jan 18, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers guard Kobe Brown (24) dunks the ball against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the second half at Mizzou Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Brown is the most well-rounded player on the first team. He’s a 6-foot-8 small forward/shooting guard who put up 16 a game with 6.2 rebounds, 2.5 steals and he shot 45% from 3-point range. Deadly.

First team - Wade Taylor IV, Texas A&M

Feb 15, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies guard Wade Taylor IV (4) drives through Arkansas Razorbacks guard Ricky Council IV (1) and forward Makhel Mitchell (22) during the second half at Reed Arena. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

As far as pure guards go, no one in the SEC is better than Taylor. Like Brown, Taylor was above 16 points a game, but he dished out more than four assists, too. His shot selection (40.5% from the field) was his only relative weakness.

Second team - Tolu Smith, Mississippi State

Mississippi State forward Tolu Smith (35) reacts to a dunk against Arkansas during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Starkville, Miss., Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Both the first and second teams have those old-school bigs on them. Smith is larger, even, than Tshiebwe, but on a mediocre Mississippi State team. He averaged 15.4 points and 8.3 rebounds for a Bulldogs team on the bubble.

Second team - KJ Williams, LSU

Mar 1, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Missouri Tigers forward Mohamed Diarra (0) fouls LSU Tigers forward KJ Williams (12) during the second half at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The fifth-year senior probably didn’t have the team season he wanted, given LSU’s two-win year. But Williams put up the points like crazy. His 17.4 a game to along with his more than seven rebounds showed he had game.

Second team - Johni Broome, Auburn

Mar 4, 2023; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers forward Johni Broome (4) celebrates after a three point shot against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at Neville Arena. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Johni Broome saw his points decrease this year from last, but his rebounds went up. Auburn was slightly better last year when he was pouring them in at a higher rate. But 14.0 points and 8.4 rebounds are solid no matter how it’s sliced.

Second team - Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee

Dec 21, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Zakai Zeigler (5) passes the ball against the Austin Peay Governors at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The sophomore is the engine that makes Tennessee go. He isn’t their best scorer. Maybe not their best playmaker. But he’s a wagon with the ball in his hands and argubly better when he’s guarding the man with the ball in his hands.

Second team - Ricky Council, Arkansas

Feb 28, 2023; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks guard Ricky Council IV (1) shoots a three pointer against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Council was the human highlight reel not just of Arkansas but of the SEC. He was the league’s third leading scorer, too, proving it wasn’t just flash. But he had a tendency to disappear at times and Arkansas’ poor season probably knocked him from first-team consideration.

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire